Simplified life cycle approach: GHG variability assessment for onshore wind electricity based on Monte-Carlo simulations

Abstract : The environmental impacts of electricity production systems have been widely assessed over the past years with many published LCAs in the literature. In the special case of greenhouses gases (GHG) from wind power electricity, the LCA results variability observed is very high, for example ranging from 2 to 81 g CO2eq/kWh in a literature review performed by the IPCC in 2011. Such result might lead policy makers to consider LCA as an inconclusive method. For environmental impacts from electricity generation this is a senstivive issue. There is a need for a more comprehensive approach to assess the GHG variability so as to define generic results which meet a general consensus. Different attempts have been initiated in order to address this problematic, the use of meta-analyses in LCA being one of them. The main objective of this paper is to build a representative model of onshore wind turbines (WT) to assess environmental performances with a simplified life cycle approach. A first methodology to generate simplified models for WT environmental performances has been designed (reported in the special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology) and is now improved with a better identification of the GHG variability assessment. Variability of GHG performances of onshore wind turbines, generated for a representative sample, is assessed through the running of Monte-Carlo simulations to identify the key parameters having the biggest influence on the results. Based on these Monte-Carlo simulations, we plotted GHG performances distributions for two key identified parameters: the WT life time and the annual average wind speed. A set of generic GHG performances curves has been defined as a function of these key parameters. Results are ranging from 2.7 to 119.7g CO2eq/kWh, a range which is comparable to the mentionned IPCC litterature review. These results can be adjusted as a function of either one or both key parameters. This methodology will be applied later for all types of electricity generation systems to generate simplifed life cycle approaches.
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  • HAL Id : hal-00784798, version 1

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Pierryves Padey, Denis Le Boulch, Isabelle Blanc. Simplified life cycle approach: GHG variability assessment for onshore wind electricity based on Monte-Carlo simulations. 6th SETAC World Congress / SETAC Europe 22nd Annual Meeting, May 2012, Berlin, Germany. 2 p. ⟨hal-00784798⟩

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